Portland Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

Taking a little break from digital marketing to share the spotlight with more traditional forms of marketing.

Ad agency

fav new ad agency yo






Everyone, meet Wieden+Kennedy, a Portland-based ad agency I recently stumbled across and was delighted because they’re from my hometown! (I may be a little biased.) They have several big-ticket clients like Nike, Facebook, Coke, ESPN, and Honda. Cue wolf whistle. According to the dearly-beloved and trusty wikipedia, they’re one of the biggest independent ad agencies world-wide and have garnered numerous awards for their work. Way to go, W+K. You go, Glen Coco.

Though I naturally gravitate towards social media since I’m a millennial baby (more on that later), I have serious respect for advertising agencies in specific because there is so much sheer time, effort, and manpower involved that all have to come together in a creative concoction to formulate an effective commercial. It’s like a dance between the brand and the consumer that has more subtleties and nuances than an awkward first date.

What really goes into crafting a successful ad? On a fundamental basis you need delve into the identity, personality, and core message of your brand. What sets you apart? What’s your THING? What comes to people’s minds when they think of your brand? If you work for a well-established company like Coke, you’re lucky in that the brand identity is already very solidly established in the mental space of the consumer. Oftentimes ad agencies have their work cut out for them because they may have to go back to square one and help build up a brand’s identity through the very ads they’re being asked to create. That’s a lot of responsibility.

Once you’ve established the personality and vibe that you’re aiming for, it’s a whole lot more time and raw effort involved that goes into developing an ad. Different teams under different jurisdictions need to seamlessly blend together to crank out a solid piece of work that’s relatable to the brand’s target audience, resonates with both the brand’s message and their consumers, and captures attention using creativity/humor/surprise/solid craft/whatever they can pull to differentiate themselves. It’s a crapton of work and the final product can be a disaster even after all the resources and $$$ invested.

That being said, I’ve been stalking some of Wieden+Kennedy’s ads and I must say they’re fab. Even their criticized ad Go Forth for Levi’s jeans appeals to the individualistic, experience-oriented, somewhat-vapid target audience. It makes me cringe, but the consumers hath spoken.

Adweek named their Coke ad It’s Mine the best superbowl ad of the decade. What’s really impressive, though, is their video detailing the process behind creating the ad. Check it out:


We may disregard them or look down on them more in the age of digital media, but ads truly are still a powerful giant in the marketing world, and Wieden+Kennedy is spot-on.



  1. Mia, I think you’re right on with the idea of creating an identity through an ad. When people see an ad, it should be unique and tailored to that company, its values, and its products. I think if companies focused more developing their identity through ads, rather than just trying to be “cool”, their ads would be a whole lot more effective.

    • Aaaaamen son. Brands can use the new rules of marketing/PR even with traditional forms of advertising like commercials by seeking to ground the ad in solid content + the brand’s identity, as opposed to just trying to interrupt their users with out-there supposedly “creative” ideas that don’t even relate to the brand.

    • I KNOW. I KNOW. I’m pathetic! idk how I didn’t know about it before! And I stumbled across them by accident so basically I live under a rock

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